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Oklahoma State football: Freshman class making early strong impression

OSU’s freshmen – and it’s a large class of 22, not including several promising recruited walk-ons – have made an immediate impression on the team’s veterans and coaches. And it’s across the board, with first-year guys making noise at many positions.
by John Helsley Published: August 3, 2014

Kevin Peterson turned shopper recently, needing to do a little home decorating in advance of fall camp.

Bumping into a few of his newest Cowboys teammates, the Oklahoma State junior was struck by how imposing the freshmen were – already.

“The very first day they reported, I had to go to Wal-Mart for a futon for my room,” Peterson said. “I saw three of the linebackers, Gyasi Akem and two others, I’m not sure which.

“I was like, ‘Dang, those dudes are big. Those dudes are huge. They look like they’ve been here for two or three years.’”

With a crisis of depth at linebacker, that’s good news for the Cowboys, as some, if not all of four freshmen linebackers – Akem, Josh Mabin, Justin Phillips and Kirk Tucker – are in play to contribute. They all look the part, particularly Mabin (6-foot-2, 227), Akem (6-1, 210) and Phillips (6-0, 215). Tucker (6-2, 190) fits well, too, in the hybrid “Star” role.

“That’s the first step,” said defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Glenn Spencer. “At least I’m not sitting here saying, ‘Physically, these guys aren’t going to be ready for two or three more years. We couldn’t afford for that to happen.

“They took care of their business this offseason.”

Spencer cautions that there’s more to see than just passing the eye test. How will the newcomers adapt mentally? How will they hold up through the grind of August? How will they perform when the lights come on and every play carries consequence?

To be determined.

Still, OSU’s freshmen – and it’s a large class of 22, not including several promising recruited walk-ons – have made a strong immediate impression on the team’s veterans and coaches. And it’s across the board, with first-year guys making noise at many positions.

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by John Helsley
OSU Reporter Sr.
John Helsley grew up in Del City, reading all the newspapers and sports magazines he could get his hands on. And Saturday afternoons, when the Major League Game of the Week was on, he'd keep a scorecard for the game. So the sports appeal was was...
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